John Steinbeck uses the convention of Character, supported with techniques of conflict, dialogue, foreshadowing, symbolism…
Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck Is A
Various characters have dreams that they use to escape loneliness. George and lens share the dream of owning a plot of land and tending rabbits. Curlers wife dreams of being a movie star however crooks dreams of being equal to everyone. During the novella the dreams are constantly under threat from loneliness, in every case the dreams give in to loneliness and characters find themselves being attacked from it. Of mice and men comes from Robert burr’s poem ‘ode to a mouse’. The best-laid schemes Of Mice and Men often go awry.
This line from the poem relates to the novella as George and Lenses dream goes drastically wrong. The title Is therefore foreshadowing the fact that something will happen which will be the cause for the dream not to happen. Steinbeck grew up reading Arthur quest stories, in many ways ‘of mice and men’ resembles one of those quest. Like the knight Leonie and George set out to earn some money in order to by a plot of land however on the way many problems arise which make It harder for the dream to actually happen.
In the novella, nature coats loneliness In beauty to portray Its unpredictability. In the opening passage Steinbeck writes the golden foothill curve’ this creates a sense of usefulness however all is not as it seems, for a moment the place was lifeless’. The author demonstrates the speed of which loneliness can strike and destroy everything in its path. Steinbeck hints at how quickly something can change, ‘ winters flooding. This suggest that the author Is foreshadowing that loneliness will strike again when everything Is going according to plan.
Steinbeck depicts two types of characters in his novella, the people that suffer from the ‘isms’ of society for example ageism, sexism and racism and the people who battle loneliness throughout the novella. The characters suffering from ‘isms’ are often isolated. They are also the bottom of society; because of this the other characters feel they have the right to discriminate against them. The character battling loneliness are surround by people, therefore the battle Is easier to face because they are can forget about their problems compared to the outcasts of society.
George and Leonie are the only characters in the novella that have each other although this does not mean that loneliness does not attack them. In the first chapter foreshadows what George’s life would be like without Leonie, ” I could take my fifty sucks and go in to town and get what I want’. The author is trying to depict George’s life after Leonie dies, although the reader might wonder what might have happened to George after lien’s death, Steinbeck forewarns at the beginning of the book. Although Leonie has George, his mental disability plays an important role in his actions throughout the novella.
Steinbeck depicts Leonie as a character who lives inside his own world, this is shown numerous times, for example the reason they left weed was because of Leonie clinging on to a woman’s dress. No one seems to be able o truly access Leonie however George persistently tries throughout the novella. On the contrary slim, does not have a relationship like George and lien’s. In spite of this the ranch workers seek guidance from him, as he is a Jerk line skinner. We never find out about Slime’s personal life, but I believe that although he might not be physically alone he is mentally alone.
Many ranch workers are hostile and rarely interact with one another however slim is the exact opposite, the first time he meets George and Leonie he says, ‘ I hope you get on my team’, this conveys his loneliness ND hope to make new friends. On the other hand, there are characters that are loneliness’ easy prey. Curlers wife is hated amongst the men on the ranch; she is often referred to as tart’ or ‘ girl’, throughout the whole novel we never find out her real name, the men label her as ‘having the eye’.
No one talks to her because they are afraid of fighting Curler as Steinbeck hints at his violent trait. During the sass, society was misogynistic, the workers thought that Curlers wife should stay inside and do what was seen as a woman’s Job in the house. She is described as having, ‘Her hair hung in little rolled clusters… ‘,full rouged lips… ‘ and ‘heavily made up’. The reader is aware of her need for male attention. Before she is killed, Curlers wife reveals her dream of being a movie star, the reader understands the reason behind why she dresses the way she does.
Curlers wife’s dream is her escape from the loneliness on the ranch hence why she is always dressed the same way. In sass America racism was at its highest point, Steinbeck explores racism using the stable buck, crooks, and the ranch workers. Crooks is portrayed as an educated man, ewe dirty books on a special shelf over his bunk, this shows the reader that crooks must have come from an educated family as many black people were illiterate in the sass. ‘California civil code for 1905’, the reader understands why crooks always says ‘ you have no right’; this is because crooks knows what he is entitled to.
I believe this suggest crooks’ intelligence, although he lives in a white dominated world he is still trying to move himself up from the bottom of society. Loneliness has won the battle with crooks as he lives with the horses; Steinbeck is portraying society views on black people. Even though the slave trade was abolished 75 years before the novella was written, black people still had no rights hence why crooks clings on to the little rights he is entitled to.
Not only is crooks alone, he has also never had visitors in his room, ‘Thigh’s the first time I ever been in his room’, this emphasis crooks’ physical black people in sass America. At the beginning of the novella candy and his dog resemble George and lien’s friendship, both companions have been with each other for a long time. However Carlson shoots candy dog and at the end of the novella Leonie is shot by the same gun. I believe that the dog and Leonie symbolism each other as they both rely on candy and George.
Furthermore the dog and Leonie were put down because they were going to sufferer worse conditions if they continued living. Candy takes refuge in George and lien’s dream in order to cope with the life without his dog. The ranch workers isolate candy as he is old and has lost one hand; therefore he is unable to work and has to work as a cleaner in order to earn money. When candy finds Curlers wife dead he is furious as he knows that the dream will no longer happen. Thereby this is an example of loneliness winning the battle.
Throughout the novella the ranch workers are deemed to be the loneliest characters. Whit is described as ‘His sloping shoulders were bent forward and he walked heavily on his heels’. In my opinion I think that whit has accepted his fate and given up on I. However the reader learns that whit still clings on to the past, ‘Don’t you remember Bill Tender? Worked here about three months ago?. Despite the fact that we never find out about bill Tender, whit clings on to someone who he doesn’t know the whereabouts of. The author thereby conveys a character that is stuck in the past.